Archive for December, 2010

2011: Open For Renovation

December 30th, 2010

dust1If only we could start 2011 and the new decade by putting up a “closed for renovation” sign clearing the way to transform our education, health care, energy, and economic systems.  We don’t have the luxury.  Tweaks won’t work and nothing short of systems transformation is needed. Our collective challenge in 2011 is to catalyze transformational change while continuing to pedal the bicycle of today’s systems.  We need real-world platforms, connected to existing systems, with the autonomy and resources to design, prototype, and experiment with transformational solutions.  Going to war with current systems won’t work. If we’re going to transform the next decade we should start by putting up an “open for renovation” sign.

Have you ever done a major renovation of your home while you were still living in it?  We did.  I don’t know what we were thinking. I’m not talking about a tweak.  It’s the familiar story about a project that started off as a manageable kitchen remodeling. Then the “while we’re at it we might as well do this too” started. Before the dust finally settled, 75% of the living space in our home was transformed, all while we continued to live in the house. Talk about disruption!  Like all transformations it took twice as long and cost twice as much as predicted.  If you ask our three children, who had to live through it, I’m sure each would say they were scarred for life by the trauma. For two years we were nomads in our own home with sleeping arrangements changing constantly. It was an adventure to find the temporary kitchen location on any given day. Tweaking is easy. Transformation isn’t. No wonder our social systems are so resistant to transformational change. Read more


December 20th, 2010

download-4I’m the least trendy person on the planet.  I’m the last one to recognize a trend and the first one to move away from a trend if I stumble upon one.  I know that sounds weird coming for a guy who has spent most of his career in marketing but it’s true.  I’m far more interested in recognizing patterns and catalyzing new trends than jumping on existing trends. I’m perpetually leery of data suggesting trends and allergic to anyone claiming to be a trendsetter.  So you can imagine my surprise when I received an offer from Jeremy Gutsche , founder of Trend Hunter, to receive and share a sneak peek of the top 20 trends from their 2011 Trend Report.

Trend Hunter claims to be the world’s largest crowd sourced trend network with 40,000 trend hunters who have identified 100,000 micro trends.  The trends are then crowd filtered to identify the most popular nougats and made available to Trend Hunter customers.  As a student of crowd sourcing platforms and a believer in the value of filters to help make sense of the daily fire hose of content we receive, I was curious to check out the platform and output from Trend Hunter. Read more

Genome of an Innovation Movement

December 14th, 2010

images-25I highly recommend mapping your organization or community genome.  Understanding the basic genetic code or wiring of any organization is key to understanding what drives the behavior of both internal and external stakeholders.  Intimate knowledge of the genome’s chromosomal makeup is a prerequisite for alignment and making meaningful progress.  It explains why employees, customers, and collaborators are attracted to an organization or why they aren’t.  Passion for an organization, community, or movement is coded at the genetic level.  If you want to transform an organization or a system, forget process reengineering and think genetic reengineering.  If you want to launch a movement make your genome transparent and accessible to anyone with a similar genetic make-up.

I offer up the BIF genome as an example and with the hope you will improve it. The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) is catalyzing a movement to transform the next decade. This is no time to think small! Together with a growing community of passionate innovators we are re-imagining the future of education, health care, energy, and entrepreneurship. We have identified and mapped 11 chromosomes that comprise the genome of the BIF innovation community and transformation movement.  Do they resonate with you?  Do you share a similar genetic make-up?  If yes, do we have a movement for you! Read more

Innovation 101: Develop Talent

December 7th, 2010

images-24If the goal is to develop markets start by developing talent.  If you want to accomplish the most amazing things focus on developing the talent of amazing people. Mentoring and coaching are the most important leadership roles.  Innovation starts by surrounding yourself and connecting with the best talent.  If you want to attract the best talent develop a reputation as the best talent developer.

Put growth opportunities for others ahead of your own.  Put growth opportunities for others ahead of your organization and your community.  If you put developing talent first you will attract the best talent.  If you consistently encourage and prepare talented individuals to grow into the best opportunities, wherever they are, you will become a talent magnet.  People who want to get better will want to work for, with, and near you.  If you prioritize talent development people will trust their talents to you. Read more

Innovate By Hacking Capabilities

December 2nd, 2010

images-23Capabilities are the amino acids of innovation.  They are the building blocks that enable value delivery.  Innovation is a better way to deliver value and is often the result of repurposing existing capabilities.  Locking capabilities into rigid organization structures and proprietary closed systems gets in the way of unleashing new sources of value and solving many of the important challenges of our time.  Innovation is about hacking capabilities.

A capability is simply the power to do something and is comprised of three elements, people, process, and technology.  You might have the capability or power to make a mean western omelet.  You possess the skill (people) thanks to hands-on training from mom, a recipe (process) handed down for generations, and a great cook top range, non-stick pan, and spatula (technology).  Hacking the capability is easy.  A Google search for western omelet recipes yields almost 25 thousand hits.  That’s more variety than a lifetime of Sunday brunches.  To stretch the analogy a western omelet capability can also be combined with other capabilities to open a cool restaurant, launch a cooking blog or cable television show, or to commercialize a new cooking utensil.  Innovation happens when we enable random capability collisions resulting in new and unexpected ways to deliver value. Read more